Fan Gallery Contents: Joni Stopa

[Joni Stopa photo] Joni Stopa [high-res photo]

Jan. 6, 1941 - Dec. 4, 1996

Wilmot WI
Costumer, convention fan

FGoH: Windycon 2 (1975).
Co-FGoH (with Jon): ConClave 6 (1981); Chicon V (1991).

Won countless Costume Ball/Masquerade awards, usually "Most Beautiful."

Using the name "Kitty" Doyle, Joni began letterhacking in the early '50s, her missives seeming to be that of a mature adult. Imagine the surprise of visiting fen when a subteen tomboy climbed down out of a tree to greet them!

Joni and Bjo Trimble created the Worldcon art show at Pittcon (1960 Worldcon). She received art material at Pittsburgh and setup and ran the show. She was seen coming out of a function room at Pittcon where she accosted a young man, demanding volunteers to help set up the art show. The young man shook her loose and said, "Lady, do you know who I am? I'm Harlan Ellison!" This cut no ice, and she dragged him off.

She married fan Jon Stopa in '62 and moved from Pennsylvania to Wilmot, Wisconsin. Starting in 1963, with Jon, she ran Wilcon, a three-day-long house party that drew as many as a hundred fans and pros from around the country. Her homemade "Mother Joni's Jams and Jellies" preserves (wild grape and wild plum were especial favorites) were auctioned off at fan events, and brought TAFF and DUFF hundreds of dollars for many years.

She was one of the instigators of a number of hoax bids, including Bermuda and Moscow. ("Bermuda Triangle in '88" was a joke invented at L.A.con II in '84. It became real (to whatever degree) in the spring of '85, and ran through the site selection voting in Atlanta in '86. The Sinclairs of Louisville started the Moscow in 2017 bid, and Joni became a big supporter with a lot of activity.)

She was one of the Chicago IL area fans that started Windycon.

She was the first costumer to run a Costume Ball, putting in all the costumer-friendly parts, like the pre show mentoring sessions on make-up and presentation (showing them how to move and display their costumes), stopping the flashbulb cameras from use during presentations, providing snacks for the contestants (who often don't eat while getting their costumes ready for the show), organizing the back stage so the costumers were not pushed around, etc.

Photo by provided by Jon Stopa.
Data: Aug. 2003

Rev. 13-Aug-2007